It isn't that often that you see a sneaker offered for a price tag of $15,000, but the Nike Dunk High LE Wu Tang is one of them. We casually browsed through the Fight Club site which is famous for selling a variety of hard to find Nike models, and we noticed that they're currently out of stock, but are still offering the pricey sneaker for sale, if and when a pair becomes available. Out of curiosity, we decided to investigate further and this is what we learned about the $15,000 shoes.
History of the Wu Tang Dunk High
Nike released the Wu-Tang Dunk sneaker in 1999.The sneaker paid homage to the Wu-Tang clan, which started as a group of hardcore rappers who pulled their group together in Staten Island New York in 1991. Members of the group included Masta Killa, Ol' Dirty Bastard, who is now deceased, The GZA, The RZA, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Raekwo and U-God. The hip hop group known as the Wu Tang Clan was popular on the scene during the 1990s era. The Dunk High sneaker was officially called the Wu Tang Killa Bees Dunk High. The sneaker was designed with a bright goldenrod yellow and black colors. This sneaker model has a very interesting history behind it. There were only 36 pairs of them ever made. They were made specifically for the group along with their friends and family so this is not a model that was ever seen for sale as a new release. Any that were sold at the time, were auctioned off from the few who received their complimentary sneakers. This makes the shoe extremely rare and when a pair becomes available, its worth collectible prices because of the age and scarcity of the model.
Extremely limited edition
We're not really sure if the Wu Tang Dunk High qualifies as a limited edition sneaker because it was created for a specific group of people. There were no announcements made of its release for sale to the public because this was never an intention, so the insanely sought after sneakers are really more of a collectible, more along the lines of "bespoke," although this doesn't really fit either. The friends and family release is more fitting as a definition for the category of releases. Even the Fight Club which is reputed for acquiring rare sneakers of all brands hasn't had a pair in their stock for five years. The last pair they auctioned did go for $5,000 and that's only about a third of the current going price.
The significance of The Wu Tang sneakers
In order to truly understand how important these sneakers are, you must have a sense of how the group that the shoes were made to honor has impacted fans, and the hip hop industry. Combine this with the fact that Nike is an iconic sneaker brand and you have the stuff that a pop culture icon is made of. This is the significance of the Wu Tang edition of the Nike Dunk High. It's as American as Apple pie or baseball and those with a passion for hip hop have an even more profound connection on an emotional level.
Are these sneakers worth $15,000?
If you have an extra $15,000 lying around and you're a dyed in the wool fan of Wu Tang and Nike as well, then there's a good chance that you'll find value in the sneakers. If you're not familiar with either then perhaps they wouldn't be a good value for you, but there are a lot of people out there who would consider $15,000 to be a steal. We can say this with complete confidence, because a pair was recently offered for auction through eBay and the selling price was up to $18,954 with bidding still open. With the price moving towards $20K all of a sudden 15 grand doesn't seem quite as steep.
Method Man asks for a re-boot
Member of the Wu Tang Clan, Method Man made a direct request to Nike asking them to reissue a retro release of the Dunk High's bestowed on Wu Tang, friends and family. It's not an unreasonable request, and there are no doubt some who would like to see a return. While it would be really cool for a retro re-issue of the shoes, they wouldn't hold the same significance nor value because they would lack the history. We learned that Method Man thought it would be a great gesture to release a retro edition to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Wu Tang Clan, but Nike declined the request. At least he gave it a try.
The Nike Dunk High Le Wu Tang is one of the most highly sought after models that is out there somewhere waiting to be put up for sale currently. There are only 36 of them known to exist and the limited edition friends and family of Wu Tang release is a very rare sneaker with historical and monetary value for collectors of rare sneakers. Bids to bring the shoe back in a retro form were vetoed by the brand and we can certainly understand that it would be taking a long shot at a resurgence of a popular '90s phenomenon. In most cases, once the ship sails, it keeps going into the sunset and while the original sneaker from the event has a high monetary value, there are no guarantees that a retro line of kicks would have much demand. It was a nice thought, but it's not going to happen. If you want to own a pair of the Nike Dunk Wu Tangs then you'll have to pay the full price for the collectible version, which unfortunately are hard to find these days.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson